Remy Ossard, Edelman PR Worldwide’s newly appointed European
president, should be feeling a little bewildered. In the last two weeks
he has left the Paris agency he devoted 11 years of his life to
building, he has said goodbye to his colleagues in France and travelled
to the UK to meet his new ones, to Portugal to spend time with his wife
and two teenage daughters, and to heaven and back, several times, over
his national team’s World Cup win.
In fact, during a brief lull in his schedule, perched on a leather sofa
in Edelman’s London offices, Ossard describes himself as feeling
’It’s like when you have new batteries,’ he says.
Bernard Emsellem has worked with Ossard for three years and will replace
him as president of France’s largest corporate communications agency,
BDDP Corporate. He says Ossard almost never loses his temper: ’He is
serene, and he likes to get things done early.’
Exceptionally for someone who has worked in advertising and PR, Ossard
has remained very loyal to his employers. He spent 12 years with
advertising agency RSCG, where he first worked in advertising and then
launched the Paris office of its PR and integrated communications arm,
He joined advertising and PR company BDDP Group in 1988, and remained
there until last week.
He is even loyal to his ex-clients. While at RSCG he represented
textile-turned-menswear manufacturer Ermenegildo Zegna. As if to prove
it, he proudly reveals the Zegna name stitched to the inner pocket of
his suit jacket.
Ossard is widely respected in France for having created the country’s
strongest corporate communications outfit. In 1988 he was lured by BDDP
to head a small corporate PR agency, CPM Consultants.
In 1991, CPM merged with the 100-strong in-house PR arm of state
electricity company Electricite de France, to create Compagnie
Corporate, the country’s largest PR agency. Then, last year, BDDP merged
six subsidiary companies, offering services as diverse as advertising,
design, PR and internal communications, to form a single corporate
division. The move was a fulfilment of Ossard’s long-term ambition to
create an integrated corporate communications company.
Ossard’s vision of integrated communications has been a model for
similar reorganisations at other French PR and advertising groups, such
as DDB and Publicis.
’Remy has developed the discipline of corporate communications, he has
given it its place in the communications mix in France,’ says
Ossard has some experience of running an international network. Until
its parent ran into financial trouble, BDDP Corporate owned a network of
agencies around Europe, including Financial Dynamics in London, which
was sold back to its managers earlier this year.
But his job at Edelman will be far more demanding in terms of
Based in Paris, he will spend up to two-thirds of the year visiting
Edelman’s other European offices and its New York headquarters.
He is used to stress. In 1996, after years of financial difficulty, BDDP
effected a reverse take-over into advertising group GGT. BDDP had not
wanted to be swallowed up by a larger group. But this year, it had to
give up the fight for independence and became part of marketing services
According to friends, Ossard is a man who prefers to enjoy life than
worry about it. He is passionate about his native region of France, the
Perigord, which is famed for its goose liver pate, or foie gras. For
years Ossard and his wife Sophie have run a cottage foie gras industry.
They have it manufactured in the Perigord, according to Ossard’s own
recipe, and give tins of the delicacy to their friends on other special
Ossard is particularly positive about his reasons for joining Edelman.
He says: ’I realised when I did my CV for this job that I had joined
RSCG and BDDP when there were lots of possibilities, and I realise it is
possible to do a lot of very interesting things in Edelman.’
Founding partner, Creative Business
Joint managing director, CPM Consultants
President and managing director, BDDP Corporate,
European president Edelman Worldwide.